A new research project has revealed that a basic level of car maintenance could be covered for under £100 a year.
Researchers at the University of Oxford’s Department of Engineering and Applied Sciences, which conducted the research, say that the basic maintenance costs of cars are likely to be low compared to other goods and services, such as electricity, gas, electricity bills and telephone bills.
“We need to consider the cost of a basic service to be a service that would not otherwise be available, and we need to look at whether there is a cost of doing this that is not captured by our prices,” said Dr Peter O’Connor, lead researcher and assistant professor at the department.
“In our research we looked at the costs of the basic car maintenance, which is typically around £100 per year.”
The research involved analysing the average daily costs for people who drove their cars on average every day for the last 12 months, and also for those who drove on a daily basis for a year before being offered the car maintenance service.
The research team found that people with higher car ownership levels and higher incomes tend to drive fewer miles than those who drive less.
For example, a single person who had a monthly car payment of £250 would pay £5.72 for the cost to maintain their vehicle, compared to £13.40 for someone who only had a £300 car payment.
The researchers also found that if you drove your car for an average of three years and had to pay for repairs every two years, the cost would be £4.18 per mile compared to a person with a car payment less than £100.
For people who were earning more money, they would pay around £9.20 per mile for a maintenance payment, compared with £6.60 for someone earning less.
The study, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, also looked at whether maintenance cost per mile would be different for different age groups.
The report found that the cost per minute of operation was significantly higher for older people, those aged between 45 and 59 years, and those who lived in households earning more than £150,000.
However, for those in the lower-income group, maintenance costs would be lower than for those with higher incomes.
The University of Bristol’s Dr Tim McBride said that the findings would help people who had low car payments to understand how they could improve their driving habits.
“There’s a lot of information out there on what people with lower car payments pay for car maintenance and how much they spend,” he said.
“So it’s important that people get that information and start to think about whether it’s worth paying the extra cost for maintenance.”
If it’s not, we should look at how to get the car back on the road as soon as possible, so people can take it for a drive.
“Dr O’Connell added: “The fact that we are now getting data on maintenance costs shows that it is worth paying attention to the costs that people are paying, and how to make sure that they are paying those costs at the same level as other goods.
“For example it’s easy to get to a place where we’re only paying a certain amount for petrol, but there are many things that we pay for that are less expensive, such a road tax, which can make a big difference.”
Car owners will need to be aware of the cost-of-operating costs when they sign up for the car service, as they can be used to reduce the amount of fuel they consume on the journey.
“The cost of running the service could be calculated by dividing the cost by the number of miles the car has driven, and then multiplying by the distance that the car can be operated on a given day,” Dr O’Connor said.